About the Match
The successful Pakistan Super League returns for a second season and the month-long tournament will kick-start with the 1st match to be held between reigning champions Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi at Dubai on 9th February. Fans will get to see some new players in action across franchises and it will be an action-packed league in the Middle East. Both teams will be eager to start their campaign on a winning note and will leave no stone unturned to emerge victorious on Thursday.
Misbah-ul-Haq leads the team that has experienced batsmen like Sharjeel Khan, Khalid Latif, Dwayne Smith, Shane Watson and all-rounders like Andre Russell, who can stabilize the innings whether batting first or during chase. United had won the title last season and they will be motivated to repeat the performance again; the batting unit is quite deep with wicket-keeper batsman Brad Haddin, Sam Billings the energetic middle-order batsman from England and other youngsters.
Steven Finn will provide his pace skills while others like Mohammad Irfan, Sami, Asif Ali and Rumman Raees add depth to the attack. The bowling squad also has spin legend Saeed Ajmal, who along with the effective Samuel Badree, can provide quick breakthroughs and stifle the opponents. All-rounders like Shane Watson, Dwayne Smith and Ben Duckett can bring in the variations with the ball.
This team can surely prove to be a formidable force to reckon with this year too and Misbah’s experience could give them the edge on the field in countering tough situations.
Darren Sammy dons the captain’s hat once again and although last time they were knocked-out in the second qualifier against United, they have good resources to avenge that defeat with a win here in the opening match of the season. The team has batting experts like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Marlon Samuels, Mohammad Hafeez, Shakib Al Hasan, Shahid Afridi and Tamim Iqbal, who can try to come out all guns blazing against the United bowlers.
Eoin Morgan, the in-form England T20 captain adds depth to the middle-order while others like Sohaib Maqsood, all-rounder Samit Patel, Haris Sohail, Andre Fletcher, Kamran Akmal and Iftikhar Ahmed can help keep the scoreboard ticking.
Imran Khan, Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz will lead the pace attack and can wreak havoc on the opposition right from the start while Hasan Ali and Chris Jordan bring variety to the contingent and can perform well to take wickets regularly. The spinners include Mohammad Asghar, Afridi and Sohail and they can make life difficult for the United batsmen here.
The match will surely be an entertainer with several match-winners on both sides who will bring their A-game on the field; while United are a confident side due to their previous title win, they will be cautious against the Zalmi all-rounders. The game could see many ups and downs for both teams and the result could swing either way but we feel that Peshawar Zalmi with its batting strength and experienced spinners is better placed to win this contest